PLOT: Years after the death of his older brother, Tyler Hawkins (Pattinson) has lost all motivation to actively participate in his own life. One night, Tyler is arrested for a bar fight by Sgt. Neil Craig (Cooper) and in order to get back at the cop, Tyler decides to romance Craig's daughter, Ally (Ravin). That summation is as close as I can come to encapsulating this movie, which is surprisingly complex.
WHO'S IT FOR? Of course all those RPatz freaks out there will flock to see the movie just to reaffirm what they already knew: he can actually act outside of Twilight. But Remember Me is so artistic in its graceful melancholy, that the film should also appeal to "serious" film connoisseurs.
EXPECTATIONS: Looowwwwww. I hadn't seen a preview, and the one clip I saw showed Pattinson mumbling incoherently at Ravin. I thought it was going to be a dire mistake sending me to see this movie, when I tend to think Pattinson is far lovelier than talented and I'd rather watch dinosaurs pouncing on tourists, anyway.
Robert Pattinson as Tyler Hawkins: If Robert Pattinson continues to pick roles like the tortured Tyler Hawkins, he's going to go the way of Leonardo Di Caprio and Johnny Depp. He will break free from his teen heartthrob shackles and shock the sh*t out of all his critics. His rabid fans should rejoice, because Pattinson is fantastic in this role. The character is dealing with so much grief and anger, but very little is said about those feelings--Pattinson has to relay those emotions, otherwise show and not tell, which he does with aplomb. It should really mean something that I'm scoring him this high, because I went in there with every intention of rolling my eyes at him the entire time. I think he's stilted and daffy in interviews and my general view was that he was little more than another pretty face. I'm not giving up that opinion entirely, but I'm willing to concede that I could be wrong. I really look forward to his next foray into drama. Score: 9
Emilie de Ravin as Ally Craig: Holy crap, Ravin was badly, BADLY miscast in this film. She manages to conceal her heavy Australian accent, but her attempts at a New York inflection oscillate between mildly embarrassing and downright uncomfortable. She's not a bad actress by any means, but she should have never set foot on Remember Me. Here's the deal: she's the only weak link in a film that is otherwise pretty spectacular, which just reinforces her sore-thumbishness. Score: 5
Pierce Brosnan as Charles Hawkins: I've never seen Brosnan take on a character like Charles Hawkins, who is as caring and lovable as a marble statue. At first it was disconcerting to see someone who is normally so congenial, behaving like a bloodless legal shark...but I soon got over that. He can't quite shake his usual persona, but he doesn't let that slow him down or even faze him a little bit. I have to say I LOVED Brosnan in this role. He was especially exceptional in the scene in the boardroom between he and Pattinson. Score: 9
Chris Cooper as Sgt. Neil Craig: Normally, I'm a huge Chris Cooper fan, but he sort of disappears in Remember Me. The character itself doesn't physically vanish; he just doesn't really stand out the way Cooper usually does. Sgt. Neil Craig isn't as developed as everyone else and Cooper doesn't really seem to whole-heartedly step into Craig's shoes. My biggest complaint with Craig has to do with a wasted opportunity at the end of the film, which would have not only made sense but it would've given Cooper a chance to really shine. Score: 7
TALKING: The writing is phenomenal. Tyler's best friend, Aidan (Tate Ellington) is incredibly funny in a very original and surprising way; and all of Tyler's inner thoughts to his brother are perfectly constructed. The film could very easily stray into sugary melodrama, but it never does. This script was its own wonderful, separate, living entity when most scripts exist more perfunctorily. Score: 10
SIGHTS: Gorgeously done. The opening scene is so stark and so brutal and it definitely sets the pace. The film making and editing are beautiful and very original. Nothing ever feels recycled or chosen because it was the easiest way to go. Score: 10
SOUNDS: The variation of the same, sad, ponderous piano music plays throughout Remember Me. Fortunately, it's pretty and appropriate, but it does get a wee bit repetitive. It's especially effective at the climax in the way it builds slowly on itself until you are filled with dread. Score: 8
BEST SCENE: There were a lot of fantastic moments in Remember Me. The beginning is like having ice water thrown in your face, and the scene between Brosnan and Pattinson in the boardroom crackles with so much genuine frustration and anger. If I'm picking only one favorite, I'd have to say the scene where we find out what happens to Caroline (Ruby Jerins), Tyler's little sister, after she attends a sleepover with a bunch of bratty girls from her school. Very powerful.
ENDING: One big major, massive downer. If, like me, you figure "it" out from the beginning of the film, it won't be such an unexpected shock, but it will still leave you feeling deeply sad.
QUESTIONS: Why, WHY do we need the obligatory girl finds out what guy's hiding and then dissolves into unnecessary hysteria? Tyler is such a cool character that anyone else would be angry, sure, but it wouldn't be the major freak out that you find in average dramatic love stories. Remember Me is definitely above average--why don't you have the female character justifiably pissed, but still reasonable? I loathe that.
REWATCHABILITY: People will want to watch this film again, because it's so well-done. That doesn't include me, because I'm still trying to shake off the ensuing depression.
Remember Me is beautiful and bittersweet and I can't emphasize enough how much I detest bittersweet. It leaves me feeling poisoned for days and I still haven't completely gotten this film out of my system. I do enjoy reviewing movies, but I very consciously stick to non-threatening comedies, creature features, and horror movies--in other words, pure pretend. I LIKE pretending, because the real world can be such a tragic, violent place. And the story behind Remember Me is so unbearable to me that to have it portrayed with such sad, beautiful class was actually painful.
Normally, Bayer goes to all the big releases and he should have had Remember Me. What makes it so much worse is that I went in all sarcastic and smug, ready to rail on yet another manipulative Hollywood Kabuki. That's what I get for wandering away from my number one, personal movie law: If it could happen and it's not about triumph, avoid it like Malaria.
Remember Me hit too close to home for me. It doesn't intentionally poke at raw nerves in an effort to get you to respond in a certain way, but it does have the ability to point out those nerves. Depending on what you've lived through and what you've experienced, Remember Me could be a very painful experience. For me, it was deeply troubling, but at least the RPatz fans got to take me down a notch or six.
And now I'm going to take my jug of ice cream and get back into bed.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10